Harp & Altar

Andrea Baker was the recipient of the 2004 Slope Editions Book Prize for her first book, like wind loves a window. She is also the author of the chapbooks gilda (Poetry Society of America, 2004) and gather (Moneyshot Editions, 2006). Raised in Florida, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY, where her apartment is small and entropy upsets her.  She maintains a Lyricism Blog at andreabaker.blogspot.com.


Jessica Baran has a BA in visual art from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where she currently resides.


James Gallagher’s collaged images have been shown in galleries across the world and have been spotted in Arkitip, in J&L Books and Die Gestallen publications, and on fancy linen tea towels. He was born and raised in the Midwest, but has now lived most of his life in New York. His work can be seen at www.gallagherstudio.net.


Elise Harris has written for the New York Times Book Review and the Nation.


Stefania Heim is co-founder and co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including The Paris Review, The Literary Review, and La Petite Zine. Her review of Elizabeth Willis’s Meteoric Flowers was published recently in Boston Review.


Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Kane is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. His work is forthcoming in McSweeney's, and his translations of Tomaž Šalamun’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, Chicago Review, Crazyhorse, and Denver Quarterly.


Eugene Lim lives in Brooklyn and works as a librarian in a high school. “Product Placement” is an excerpt from a novel in progress called Loop. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Boog City, sonaweb, and elimae.  He  became fiction editor of Harp & Altar after the publication of the first issue.


Jill Magi is a 2006–07 writer-in-residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program. She is the author of Threads, a hybrid work of prose, poetry, and collage forthcoming in fall 2006 from Futurepoem Books, and Cadastral Map, a chapbook published in 2005 by Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. Prose, poetry, and visual works have appeared in HOW2, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket, CutBank Poetry, The New Review of Literature, Aufgabe, Chain, and Pierogi Press, and are forthcoming in The Tiny and Second Avenue Poetry. She runs Sona Books and teaches literature and writing at The City College and The Eugene Lang College of the New School.


Michael Newton is currently at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, pursuing a master’s degree in visual art. He likes art a lot.


Cameron Paterson lives in rural North Carolina.  He is currently a graduate student in classical philology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Lily Saint is a lapsed poet. While she awaits the return of her muse, she is working toward a dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center.


Tomaž Šalamun lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is the author of more than thirty collections of poetry. The most recent English translation of his work is Blackboards (Saturnalia Books, 2004).


Joanna Sondheim’s work has appeared in canwehaveourballback, sonaweb, LitVert, Boog City, Bird Dog, and Fishdrum, among others. Her chapbook, The Fit, was published by Sona Books in 2004.


Paul Winner has entered his final year of divinity school in New York.


Michael Zeiss lives in Woodside, Queens. This is his first published story.

Anoth. Dict. of Rec. Ideas (Abbrev.)
Paul Winner


ALCOHOLIC:  1) An early role, usually assumed for various social missteps or one’s first stirrings of misanthropy; 2) a source of premature wisdom.


AMBITION:  Often “naked” or “noble.” Preferable in people of new acquaintance to features such as sincerity or kindness.


ANTI-DEPRESSANT:  1) Fluctuating pretext for continued social missteps that might otherwise prove embarrassing (see ALCOHOLIC); 2) holding pattern of distaste for one’s career, spouse, etc.



BAND:  Weekend activity for married males, founded on common tastes and/or advanced degrees. (see TASTE)


BECKETT:  Excellent name for a housepet.


BIAS:  A sin of ignorance. Everyone else operates from it.


BOOKSHELF:  Carefully or casually organized, yet always incompletely known.


BROMIDE:  Sound advice one seeks to avoid.



CELEBRITY:  Understood through intermedia to be one’s imaginary friend; one usually envisions coming upon this friend and sharing opinions on work, home, culture, minorities, etc.


CLICHÉ: That which forms the readily recognizable elements of art, visual or narrative. When in doubt of its existence, identify regardless.


CREDIT:  Unreliable gauge of self-worth. One should claim to be victimized by predatory lending.



DANTE:  Excellent name for a housepet.


DERRIDA:  1) Filter of phrases through which modern identity is discussed in the French pluperfect; 2) a rather short man from the provinces.


DIPLOMACY:  A quaint form of sincerity on the geopolitical scale. (see AMBITION)



ECLECTIC:  Fresh and new, predictably so.


EUROPE:  1) Western edge of Asian landmass, site of numerous lessons in self-actualization in the form of wise/shrewd/forgotten grand-relatives; 2) a kind of older sibling to the United States, bitter for having been passed over in world lottery of domination.


EXERCISE:  More noteworthy, though less effective, taken up late in life.



FANFARE:  With what most everything enters into discussion. Very much needed to get public’s attention.


FLAUBERT:  Responsible for the tired genre of nouvelle realism as clutched, somewhat poignantly, by the preceding generation of MFA graduates. Claim to find cruel unless read in the original.



GARDEN STATE:  1) Repository of jokes concerning cultural and/or geographical misfortune; 2) “The Graduate” for a whole new generation—seriously, it was like, my life.


GOATEE:  Sharp-looking in certain areas of … 1992.



HELL:  Other people.


HEMINGWAY:  A heady combination of the virile and sentimental. 


HIP:  Asshole envy.


HISTORY:  A huge undiscovered country, deceiving and swamp-like, littered with poor signposts. Its primary lesson may be confidently reduced to this: Beware of short men from the provinces. (see BROMIDE)



ICONOCLAST:  Look in the mirror, rebel.


IRONY:  Always appreciated, never called for. Like the cigarette one swears off, yet pulls heavily on in a moment of timidity. Try to locate use in objects chosen at random, then discuss as if lingua franca.



KHAKI:  Sharp-looking in certain areas of … Blockbuster Video.


KINDNESS:  Evidence of a weak constitution, poor education, and provincial thinking. (See AMBITION)


KITSCH:  A free pass given to bad taste.



LIFE:  1) A biological allotment of roughly no more than 700,000 hours; 2) raw material of one’s Master Plan, or time spent as figments of imaginative reverie; 3) an addictive sugar-wheat cereal.


LINGUA FRANCA:  Latin for “groupthink.”


LITERATURE:  One leaf on the branch of cultural studies. 



MACHIAVELLI:  Used in its adjective form to describe political operations your side wishes it had thought of.


MEDICINE:  In crisis. Unregulated. Denied the impoverished. Cheaper in Canada. Necessary for birth control.



NATURE:  A Romantic state known for purity of heart and clarity of sight. If not for the bugs, somewhat preferable to exurban sprawl.


NIGHTMARE:  Try coupling with “Orwellian” or “public relations.”


NOSTALGIA:  Too close to sentimentality to be trusted, except when dissecting and celebrating parts of the collective unconscious. (see TELEVISION)


NOVEL:  1) Like opera or penmanship, an art form of the sort one hears is always dying; 2) a vessel for reaching the lowest rungs of gossip, usually for no longer than one season.



PAINKILLERS:  Branch of homeopathy.


PETIT-BOURGEOIS:  Whoever does not understand one’s humbly proffered and clearly reasoned commentary.


POSTMODERN:  Synonym for bloodless.


PUNK:  1) A form of custom tailoring to hide the cost and/or brand name of one’s comfortable accoutrements; 2) a stay against graceful aging.



SOCIAL GRACES:  Controlled anger.


SONTAG:  Best consulted the way one would a broken clock. 


SPORT:  Physical link between bourgeois and proletariat. Usually one’s interest in following matches is directly proportional to one’s inability to play them as a child.  Try to form opinions of any kind on the subject. (see LINGUA FRANCA)


SWEATPANTS:  What one wears anticipating, or often in place of, bodily improvement.



TASTE:  What one yearns to accumulate in place of hard currency.


TELEVISION:  1) Important element of what is derisively called popular culture. One should never apologize for seeming to have watched every new network or basic-cable program and pronounced it either lacking or transfixing and therefore evocative of zeitgeist (see ZEITGEIST); 2) its positive appeal is one more reason why you’ll never find a better job. (see ANTI-DEPRESSANT)


TERRORIST:  Anarchist of modern technology and medieval cosmology. Celebrated as folk hero in dictatorial states and by various icon graphics on MySpace and high school kids in Dayton looking for a band name.



WATER:  Petroleum of the twenty-first century. Lower atmosphere of the twenty-second.


WEALTH:  Always relative. Claim to be unmoved by it.


WIRELESS:  1) A misnomer; 2) a state of being trapped in wired connections, as seraphim and the like are bodies caught between terra firma and terra celestia; 3) a reason to patronize Starbucks.



YOUTH:  Shapeless existence, before one knew better. 



ZEITGEIST:  Defined through purchase habits. Like Arafat, never stays a night in the same place.